March 30, 2014 8:03 PM
For Karl Marx’s birthday last year, his hometown of Trier, Germany, displayed 500 figures by Ottmar Hoerl. Thomas Wieck/Agence France-Presse-Getty Images
In the golden, post-war years of Western economic growth, the comfortable living standard of the working class and the economy’s overall stability made the best case for the value of capitalism and the fraudulence of Marx’s critical view of it. But in more recent years many of the forces that Marx said would lead to capitalism’s demise – the concentration and globalization of wealth, the permanence of unemployment, the lowering of wages – have become real, and troubling, once again.
The fall of communism discredited Marx’s political vision. But, as observers have wondered before, is his view of our economic future being validated?